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Old 02-13-2012, 12:31 PM   #30
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: Integrity in our Aikido Community

I have started of few of these types of threads so I feel I should participate...

1. Yes, everyone has an opinion; no, they are not valued equally. It is an obligation of those who post opinion to substantiate their position. Sometimes, the ethos of the poster is sufficient, sometimes the validity of the claim or the position is uncontested (or "common knowledge"). However, the social science of making unsubstantiated opinions is detrimental to the ethos of the poster.
2. Integrity is an individual trait, expressed within a community. The community is considered to possess integrity if the if the persons within the community possess integrity. You may argue whether persons who train aikido comprise a community, or persons who have an aikiweb account are part of a community, but those are traits in common.

Aikiweb certainly has a number of posters who are not concerned with substantiating a position but they want the position treated with respect. This is a hypocritical stance and not conducive to establishing a reputation of integrity. We see doctors when we want a weighted medical opinion, lawyers when we want a weighted legal opinion, accountants when we want a financial opinion. We send our children to college to earn a degree, which carries a educational weight. We listen to nutritionists who teach us how to change our eating habits. We hire personal trainers to help us reach our fitness goals. Yet, on Aikiweb anyone who posts to a thread should be considered with equal weight? Right, show me a yudansha book filled with 3, 4 and 5 dan seminars (who all have knowledge to contribute)...

As for some of my own personal comments:
1. Until I know who "expert economists" are, I will continue to ignore their expert opinion, especially when they do not recant their in-corrections. I weigh personal opinion less when it is unsubstantiated, or not first-hand recollection. Prove to me that you are worth hearing.
2. I object, your Honor! Heresay, circumstantial, inductive and non-specific evidence is not evidence. I weigh less opinion that relies upon shoddy evidential support. Not faith - I go to church for that.
3. If O'Sensei jumped off a cliff... Seriously, O'Sensei is not Moses. Respect what he did, avoid relying upon his word. If he transmitted the knowledge, there is someone else who can also express what O'Sensei meant.
4. We have this great expression in the South, "Bless your heart." It is not good - it refers to the extreme failure of accomplishment, to the point of sympathy (i.e. he tried so hard but he failed so miserably that I feel sorry for him). When a poster goes out on a long limb and shows neither compassion for what she said, nor perspective for those she is trying to illuminate, I stop reading. This section includes "you do not understand" as a response. These are just embarrassing.

When I write I try to meet these criteria:
1. I write from a position that gives value to my opinion
2. I provide support for my claims (the more extreme, the more support)
3. I try to use contemporary, valid and specific support for my opinions
4. I try to express my position with respect to the opposition and compassion for the weight and damage my words may cause.

I weigh what I read very carefully; someday I want to be a somebody in aikido. I do not want to be a 4, 5 or 6 dan that people do not care about. I don't want to persevere through aikido and look back at 30 years and go, "wow, I suck for 30 years of my life and thousands of dollars in costs." The information I respect is that which helps me steady my course. I want the challenge to say, "think that's it, huh? Okay, see you in 5 years and we'll compare notes."
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